Anti-racism campaigns: what does this now mean for Black authors? by Vanessa Grossett

“Enough is enough” is the cry of the Black community around the world, following years of oppression and racism that have been experienced. 

The tragic death of George Floyd and many other African Americans at the hands of certain police officers was the trigger point. Fed up of being treated like we have no right to exist, when we are all fearfully and wonderfully made by God, we have just as much right to be on this planet as everyone else. 

Due to these incidents, many Black celebrity figures started to speak up about the racism they have experienced in their industry – this included well-known Black authors. 

One bestselling international author, named Dorothy Koomson, stated on her Instagram post: “Publishing is a hostile environment for Black authors. I’m not talking about the inclusive indies, the ones who’ve been forging their way ahead, I’m talking about the major players in publishing. Yours is an environment that the world thinks is welcoming, liberal, ‘right on’ and intellectual, but in reality can be extremely damaging for Black authors.”

She then went on to say: “Let me also be clear: Black writers do not want special consideration; we do not want special treatment. We want a level playing field and equality of opportunity, the chance to write books and explore as many subjects and genres as our White counterparts.” 

Now it’s public knowledge what Black writers have experienced, will there be a change in the publishing industry? I do believe publishers have taken note, and are now looking at more ways to improve diversity, and yes, I do believe they will now start to take on a lot of what they call under-represented writers, which includes Black authors, and give more Black voices a chance to be heard. 

I believe that Black authors should make the most of this opportunity, and pitch their manuscripts to publishers. Please also keep in mind that when you are pitching, publishers have their guidelines in how they would like a manuscript to be presented, and what they are looking for in a manuscript, so if you get turned down, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is to do with your race; it’s just a manuscript they are not seeking at this present moment.

Sadly, it has taken many unfortunate incidents and an outcry for the rest of society to realise the injustices the BAME communities face. Let’s now make a positive impact in peace, love and harmony. Writers, this is your opportunity to shine, to make your creative writing go on display, and to be the voice that others need.

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